In the consulting business, we tend to just focus on one assignment at a time. While we may mutter under our breaths our frustration of clients whose different departments work in a silo, we all have to look in the mirror a bit sheepish. HITECH, ICD-10, HPID, Operating Rules, EMR, CAC….all the different projects, initiatives, and mandates can fill the entire Pacific ocean! Being in the weeds, it can be hard to wonder what all of this is for, how it will benefit any of us in the long run.
Believe it or not, the myriad regulations, initiatives, and mandates are all here for a reason. I’ve been hearing for years from the folks who came from telecom, banking, and the transportation industry that EDI has been around for decades and decades. Healthcare was one of the last industries (and the largest sector of our overall gross domestic product, by the way) to move away from paper and towards a standardized electronic transaction format. Reliance on paper in the administration of healthcare is not only time-ineffective (I think I made up that phrase) but also extremely cost-prohibitive and not good for the greater good of our country. Read this interesting article from an attendee of a national meeting with the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health Information Technology (HIT), a health IT agency within the federal government.